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Poll: Do you trust the word count from your clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:28
SITE STAFF
Mar 16, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you trust the word count from your clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Elías Sauza

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:28
Member
English to French
Yes Mar 16, 2007

But I always check they're right...
Philippe


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:28
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
It's not worth arguing! Mar 16, 2007

I voted yes.

In the vast majority of cases, I can trust them, but like Philippe I end up checking. I am hopeless at remembering numbers, and often it is easier to check than to find the mail where the client named some figure.

Often they only write 'about X00' - which means anything from (X minus 1) hundred to three or four hundred above... Or they just leave me to find out for myself.

Often it is not worth arguing.
I agree to do the job at a specified price when I have seen the text, and only discuss it after that if they send a lot of 'forgotten' sections or modifications.

I don't get paid for arguing with clients, and I end up doing the job anyway.



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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Depends... Mar 16, 2007

I usually verify the word count. Errors do occur. Not surprisingly, one of mine is always "a bit" wrong...

... nothing serious, though, because I consciously try to keep away from trouble customers.

[Edited at 2007-03-16 15:47]


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Tomas Burda  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:28
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
I always check the word count… Mar 16, 2007

I received some weekend jobs with higher or in one case even much higher word count than the word count specified by client. I always check the word count to avoid unexpected surprises.

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Lubain Masum  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 06:28
Member (2006)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Always trust word count of my regular outsourcers Mar 16, 2007

I always trust the word count of my regular outsourcers and do not usually count the words again, as seldom they go wrong and in that case also, the outsourcers inform me that there is wrong count of words and please change the record. I change the record without even to count it again, as I have deep trust on my regular outsources. In fact, I did not have a problem with word count with my international clients yet. However, sometimes I have some problems with some of my local clients, who still want to pay me on page basis. I tried to convince them several times to go for a word count but they insist that often they have hard copies for translation and how to count words of so many pages! I told them in that case you can go for word count of target language. But they seem not to pay heed. And that is why sometimes it creates a problem what constitute a page, what will be font, font size, space, page set up etc! However, recently one of clients agreed to pay me on page-based word count that is 250-300 words will constitute a page.

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, but we double-check Mar 16, 2007

Yes, generally speaking our customers are fairly accurate in that sense. However, we always check (run a Trados analysis) as part of our staging process, just to avoid surprises.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Always double check Mar 16, 2007

I voted it depends but really I'd have to say I at least double check.

It's not a matter of bad faith or lack of trust (in the sense that I think they're going to cheat me). People make mistakes and depending on the client, some of them don't even know that MS Word has a word count feature.
This past week I was in a shop and the customer in line in front of me counted out the change the cashier gave him. He said, "No es cuestión de confianza; es cuestión de seguridad". He was just playing it safe.

I always keep in mind that some clients that are companies (not translation agencies) don't think like we do. They're not involved much with translation, so an exact number of words may not seem important to them. This past week a client called and said she had a document with 9,000 words. In reality it was more than 10,000. That's enough of a difference for me to point out. There was no problem in the end, once I explained how she herslf could see how many words were in the text.


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Ma. Fernanda Blesa  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 21:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, but I double-check Mar 16, 2007

I trust them, yes, but I always double-check just to make sure it's more or less accurate and I will have the time to actually do the translation in time. If I find a difference (which has happened) and it's less than 100 words (upwards or downwards) I just let it go, if it's 100 or more I mention it to the client. So far I've never had a problem either way.


[Edited at 2007-03-16 17:41]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:28
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
The question does not often arise Mar 16, 2007

It is only agencies that mention word count, other clients don't. However, I always check for myself when dealing with agencies, since one or two in the past have used unconventional ways of counting, i.e. they tick all the boxes in the word count program to have various different sorts of words omitted from the word count.

Astrid

[Edited at 2007-03-16 17:57]


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 18:28
English to Russian
+ ...
N/A Mar 16, 2007

I charge for target word count only - the source has been written by somebody else, I get paid for my job:-). After 15 years of experience I can testify that in my pair all any any minor deviations towards/from my or client's benefit mutually write off in a not so long run, and when I hear "it's a 1/3 difference!" I barely refrain myself from saying "Check your style":-). Again, I speak for my pair only.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another poorly worded poll Mar 16, 2007

I answered "no", but it is not that I don't "trust" them, it is simply that I always use my own word count. Never have I had any conflict on word count, and my clients hardly ever supply one unless it is just approximate.

With me, no word count or price is final until I see the work and agree on it. I quote nothing I have not seen.

Others who do the same have apparently replied differently, so I don't see the sense of the poll.


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:28
English to Polish
+ ...
The same Mar 16, 2007

Lubain Masum wrote:

I always trust the word count of my regular outsourcers and do not usually count the words again, as seldom they go wrong and in that case also, the outsourcers inform me that there is wrong count of words and please change the record. I change the record without even to count it again, as I have deep trust on my regular outsources. In fact, I did not have a problem with word count with my international clients yet. However, sometimes I have some problems with some of my local clients, who still want to pay me on page basis. I tried to convince them several times to go for a word count but they insist that often they have hard copies for translation and how to count words of so many pages! I told them in that case you can go for word count of target language. But they seem not to pay heed. And that is why sometimes it creates a problem what constitute a page, what will be font, font size, space, page set up etc! However, recently one of clients agreed to pay me on page-based word count that is 250-300 words will constitute a page.


I voted "It depends" as I always check with new customers. The general rule seems to be that if they cheat / make simple errors, they are usually not worth working with on many accounts and soon disappear from my life. With regular outsourcers, end customers (businesses) never question my own word count while agencies provide a word count along with the order and over time I've learned to trust them as they are very efficient in every respect. Wouldn't be my regulars otherwise


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:28
English to German
+ ...
Errors happen Mar 16, 2007

I voted "no" because mistakes happen, even to the best clients. A while ago I accepted a project with a 5-digit word count from a longtime regular (several years, great client)and I offered a delivery date according to the word count stated in the PO. I kept writing and writing while this job (website, countless little files, no way of checking beforehand) seemed to grow larger and larger. I know my daily output, got suspicious and alerted the company before deadline.

It turned out that there was a difference of about 6000 words. How could this happen? The client had started using some new word count software and the PM wasn't familiar with it yet.

This was an exception of course and I usually check the word count before accepting a project, especially the jobs with amazingly round numbers receive an extra word count treatment..


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:28
English to French
+ ...
I always check Mar 17, 2007

It will sound sad, but I've learnt not to trust anybody a long time ago.

When I get a package, I always check its contents right away. When I buy something, I always count the change I get. The same way, I always check the wordcount.

A few times, clients told me the wordcount was such and such, and I caught them cheating. I don't trust announced wordcounts - I want to see the log.


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